Planet Gore

September: SUV the Planet

Under pressure from the White House, Ford removed an ad last month dissing the UAW bailout — an ad that had embarrassed an administration spinning the narrative that it had saved the industry. But with September’s sales numbers, there’s more egg on the White House face: The companies they rescued are prospering because they are selling giant, Obama-hated, gas-guzzling SUVs like hotcakes.

Defying the prevailing economic mood, the Detroit Three all posted big gains in September as consumers fled sedans and embraced SUVs. Light trucks are back over 50 percent of market sales — as they were before the Great Recession — fueling bigger profits and a new Government Motors-UAW contract that adds 6,400 jobs and $5,000 bonus for each UAW worker.

Meanwhile, sales of Obamacars like the Fiat 500 and Chevy Volt moved like cold porridge. The number of plug-in electric Volts sold — only 723 over the entire month — was barely half the number of Chevy Silverado pickup trucks the General sells in one day. In short, Detroit is saving Obama’s UAW by destroying the planet.

The numbers are staggering. GM reported overall sales gains of 20 percent driven by its giant Chevy Suburban (up 83 percent), Silverado (up 35 percent), and GMC Yukon (up 67 percent). Chrysler sales were up 27 percent on the strength of big Dodge truck sales. And Ford saw sales rise 9 percent thanks to popular SUVs like the Escape, Explorer, and iconic F-150 pickup.

Perversely, Obama continues to subsidize small-car purchases while the evidence accumulates that consumers want bigger vehicles — bigger vehicles whose $5,000-per-unit profit margin will more quickly return their taxpayer dollars.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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